ARSON ATTACK: Police appeal for information on store blaze
POLICE are urging the public for information that may help them identify a man suspected of deliberately lighting a convenience store on fire, with a fuel bowser out front.
Detectives from the Coffs/Clarence Police District are making the public appeal as they continue to investigate the suspected arson attack at the store which also has an attached dwelling on Grafton St in Lowanna.
"The fire brigade were able to contain the fire but we have concerns about the nature of the incident, where a fire appears to have been deliberately lit at the store with an attached dwelling and bowser out front," Detective Acting Inspector Aaron Van Schaik told The Advocate.
Police were called to the store north-west of Coffs Harbour just before 9pm on March 6, following reports from the occupants of the attached dwelling that the building was well alight.
Fire crews arrived and extinguished the blaze, which left the premises with minor structural and smoke damage.
Officers were told that a man was seen running from the scene.
Det A/Insp Van Schaik said the fire was contained to the front area of the shop, where the bowser is located.
He said detectives, who have established Strike Force Ivery, are following a number of lines of inquiries in relation to the motivation behind the attack.
"We believe it was deliberately lit and we continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding that … we're keeping an open mind."
Detectives wish to speak to a man described as being of caucasian appearance, aged in his early 50s, between 170cm-175cm tall with a stocky build.
"We're aware Lowanna is small and it is likely members of the community will have information which may be able to identify the person," Det A/Insp Van Schaik said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Coffs Harbour Police Station or Crime Stoppers.